Missouri continues to win when it matters.
The Tigers women’s soccer team won its first NCAA tournament game in program history 1-0 against Eastern Illinois on Friday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.
In Missouri’s most recent tournament appearance in 1999, the Tigers lost their first game 3-2 against Marquette in quadruple overtime.
Missouri plays No. 13 Kansas in second-round play at 1 p.m. today. The Jayhawks defeated Illinois State 3-1 on Friday.
The Tigers have won seven of nine games after going 9-9-1 in the regular season.
“We’re excited because we’ve fought back every week,” goalkeeper Megan Duncan said. “It’s finally paying off.”
Kristen Heil scored her 10th goal of the season in the 48th minute. Melissa Peabody passed to Adriene Davis at midfield, then Davis sent a through ball to Heil, a junior forward.
She beat her defender on the right side and turned toward the goal before sliding a shot into the lower right corner.
Heil credited her teammates.
“It was an awesome pass,” Heil said. “It’s a team effort that starts in the back and works all the way up to the front.”
Passing put Missouri ahead, but the Tigers’ defense kept them there. It was only the second time Eastern Illinois had been shut out all season, and Missouri held the Panthers to 12 shots. Beth Liesen, the Panthers’ leading scorer, took only four.
“It started with our senior goalkeeper,” Missouri coach Bryan Blitz said. “I think it was very impressive. I think it was a team effort. They did a great job on a great forward, Beth Liesen, who’s a 20-goal scorer. They did a nice job.”
The first half was scoreless. After the Tigers scored, Eastern Illinois kept up the pressure until the final whistle.
“It was a tough loss,” Eastern Illinois coach Steve Ballard said. “It was a great effort by coach Blitz and his team. But we’ll go on from here and the sun will come up tomorrow.”
Missouri lost to Kansas 2-0 on Oct. 12, and Blitz said he is looking forward to the rematch.
“We’ve seen them, they’ve seen us and there are no secrets,” Blitz said. “They’re ranked 13th in the country and it’ll be a nice opportunity to see how we match up.”